Are you buying a racquet for Christmas? Read this first!Tim Strawn
A great Christmas gift for any tennis player is a new racquet. However, there are some important things to consider before spending your hard-earned cash on a new racquet. Whether you’re buying for yourself or planning to surprise someone else, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the right racquet. Number one on the list is to consult a professional racquet technician. This will ensure you’re getting expert advice, which in turn will prevent you from buying the wrong racquet and essentially wasting your money. Here are some things to consider:
- Tennis racquets are designed for different playing styles. Knowing how someone plays the game is important
- Different levels of play exist within those playing styles so take this into consideration too
- The grip size is crucial and should be measured. A proper measurement along with proper fitting is best obtained in person
What are some good tips for buying a tennis racquet?
- If you’re determined to keep your gift a surprise you can check with your racquet technician and see if they offer gift certificates. Leave the amount blank but give your seller a good faith payment that can be used towards the purchase price. This will allow your player to go back after the holiday and work with a professional to make sure they’re getting the right racquet the first time around.
If you buy a premium racquet it should come unstrung. This is good because it allows your player to work with the racquet technician to pick the right string and tension for their game
- As mentioned above, grip size is crucial and a professional racquet technician will know how to measure your grip properly. The photo at the right is a nice diagram that shows you how you can measure your own grip. Use a standard ruler and measure from the tip of your ring finger to the second lifeline in the palm of your hand.
- Keep in mind that not all hands are the same and this means that not all people have easily visible lifelines running through the palm of their hand.
In that case, you’ll need to measure by sight, as shown in the photo on the left. If possible, it’s also a good idea to do this in conjunction with the lifeline method because I’ve seen situations where you measure using the lines in the palm and when you have the player hold a racquet, that measurement is not as accurate as using the fingers as a guideline. Getting this right is really important. If the grip is too small the racquet will torque or twist on off-center hits. The same holds true if the grip is too big. The player will not have complete command of the racquet unless the grip size is correct. In most cases, one size larger or smaller than the measurement will be ok, but in most cases, an exact measurement is best.
In summary, it’s always best to work with a professional to insure you’re getting the right racquet. Ask the person if they hold any certificate that shows they have been properly trained in racquet service. Remember, a teaching pro focuses on stroke production and a racquet technician focuses on selecting the right racquet, string and tension to match your level and playing style. If you can find a teaching pro who does both this is the absolute best of both worlds.
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